02 August 2009

Daimons, by Nina FitzPatrick

The final collaboration between Nina Witoszek and Pat Sheeran is a charming, hilarious novel, a wonderful send-up of Irish culture and society. It's sparkling, witty, and quite amusing, characterized by the same sort of humor that one finds in their other books, Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia and The Loves of Faustyna; in other words, a kind of raunchy enjoyment of well worn cliche.

The Polish-Irish aspect is in some ways most visible in this book. You could sort of see it in Fables, which were stories of Irish life, and Faustyna, whose titular protagonist was a Polish woman, but in this novel it's more curious, in that it's set wholly in Ireland, yet there are occasional, often unexplained references to Polish things.
Of course, there are also great references to Irish stuff - I particularly relished seeing Declan Kiberd get namechecked - and really, the book is a very smart take on Irish culture overall, I'd say. In particular, it raises some really nice points about society's relationship to (and commodification of) the past in amusing ways. It's also a nice satire of the West of Ireland overall.

But that's sort of beside the point. As a novel, it has to be admitted, it's not perfect. It definitely loses steam towards the end, and generally, the sprawling cast of characters is a bit more than is manageable, but nonetheless, it's a charming, entertaining book. Not the best Nina Fitzpatrick work - I think that honor goes to Fables - but great fun in any case.

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